Shades of the story of Icarus here. Apps like Zoom and Houseparty have seen meteoric rises in uptake during lockdown. When something like this happens the old “Qui bono” test applies. Who benefits from Houseparty being uninstalled?…:
Houseparty, a video conferencing desktop and mobile application, said it would pay a $1 million bounty to anyone who could unmask the entity behind what the company described as “a paid commercial smear campaign.”
The company’s apparent anger comes after Houseparty has been at the center of media reports published yesterday by three British tabloids.
The Sun, the Express, and Mirror Online reported on Monday on a large number of Houseparty users claiming they had social media accounts hacked and taken over after installing the video conferencing app on their smartphones.
Users reported having Netflix, eBay, Instagram, Snapchat, and Spotify accounts taken over; however, very few were able to provide details about what really happened.
Houseparty hasn’t hacked your bank account
-no link evidence
-their services were not compromised (via @houseparty)
Based on Tweets, people installed trending app, but we don’t know what else they installed or where else might entered Houseparty credentials that could be reused pic.twitter.com/lWZpJk1jiE
— Lukas Stefanko (@LukasStefanko) March 30, 2020
I’d urge EVERYONE to delete #houseparty. My car was stolen this afternoon and I was then robbed at gunpoint by a man in a balaclava, I’ve absolutely no doubt that houseparty is responsible for this. DELETE IT NOW
— Andy (@andyraepal) March 30, 2020
Houseparty denied any hacking rumors right from the get-go via a firm statement posted on its Twitter account, claiming that the app “doesn’t collect passwords for other sites,” and, hence, wouldn’t be able to allow anyone to extract this data and pivot to other online services.
All Houseparty accounts are safe – the service is secure, has never been compromised, and doesn’t collect passwords for other sites.
— Houseparty (@houseparty) March 30, 2020
However, despite the explanation, the app is now at the center of a public relations disaster. Many of its users appear to believe the reports and are encouraging others to uninstall and delete the app from their devices.